Pandan Antique Philippines

Comment to “Farther away or the creative way” Article

Note: Sent to Manila Bulletin’s Opinion/Editorial through it’s Feedback Form

December 24, 2000

Mr. Fred Lobo’s column entitled, “Farther away or creative way,” merits credibility especially in regard to people becoming more aware of the environmental hazards brought by dumpsites and the people’s fear of possible health risks. He is so right when he refers to garbage being annoying to the senses.

Finding a creative way of dumping garbage that safeguards the people’s health and the environment is indeed a must. Along these lines, if “farther away” means using Semirara as the new dumping site for Metro Manila’s garbage, I think it is unfair to the people of Antique and especially Semirara to be the recipient of such atrocity. This alternative plan has not been “thoroughly explored, ” (to use your term) because, for one thing, the residents and the neighboring islanders don’t want Metro Manila’s garbage either. Also,”farther away” to Semirara entails three days of transport by barges from Manila to the island, an approximately 385-kilometer journey that is subjected to wind, storm, and accidents. And what about the DENR’s memorandums on protecting endangered species like the marine turtles in Semirara and the bird sanctuary in Caluya? Are these supposed to just look good on paper but in reality don’t mean a t! hing and therefore are not going to be enforced?

R-II Chairman Reghis M. Romero II brags about using modern technology on the Semirara dumping site. He must really think that Antiquenos, especially the islanders, are easily fooled just because the island has been described in the paper as “a remote island in Antique.” When you start stripping peaceful people of their right to maintain their way of life and their source of livelihood from the sea, you have a lot to answer for.

Mr. Romero and the MMDA people should concentrate on finding an alternative site “closer” to the source of garbage, not “farther away.” They should have no fear if they have their “modern technology” in place.

Leave the people of Semirara alone. Let Boracay, the nearby resort, continue to thrive on its tourist industry. Why do they have to suffer the indignity of being dubbed as the “basura capital of the Philippines” by taking in tons of Metro Manila garbage which is not their garbage in the first place? Creative? Yes. Semirara isaland for “far away?” NO!

Thelma M. Ramos
(born in Pandan, Antique)
California, USA